Mission: Epiphany School is an independent, tuition-free, middle school for children of economically disadvantaged families from Boston neighborhoods. We admit children of di ... (More)

Epiphany School is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1998, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information


  154 Centre Street
Dorchester MA 02124 


 Important note on the timeliness of ratings

The IRS is significantly delayed in processing nonprofits' annual tax filings (Forms 990). As a result, the Financial and Accountability & Transparency score for Epiphany School is outdated and the overall rating may not be representative of its current operations. Please check with the charity directly for any questions you may have.

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Star Rating System by Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.


This charity's score is 92.25, earning it a 4-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2020, the latest year published by the IRS. 

View this organization’s historical ratings.

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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).

This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).

Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.

Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

6.19 years

Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.

Source: IRS Form 990


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.

Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.

Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors can be reluctant to contribute to a charity when their name, address, or other basic information may become part of donor lists that are exchanged or sold, resulting in an influx of charitable solicitations from other organizations. Our analysts check the charity's website to see if the organization has a donor privacy policy in place and what it does and does not cover. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.



Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.

Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information


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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are this organizations key compensated staff members as identified by our analysts. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on Form W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting

John H. Finley, Head Of School

$101,050 (1.88% of Total Expenses)

Michelle Sanchez, Principal

$133,764 (2.49% of Total Expenses)

Kara Fagan-Rayner, Director Of Annual Fund Giving And Operations

$122,788 (2.29% of Total Expenses)

Current CEO and Board Chair can be found in the Leadership & Adaptability report below.

Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Private school (BMF activity code: 046)

Foundation Status:

School 170(b)(1)(A)(ii) (BMF foundation code: 11)


Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Pandemic Response

Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, we give charities such as this one the opportunity to share the story of COVID's impact on them. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.

Epiphany School reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:

Currently, Epiphany is in a solid financial position. A generous PPP loan has been forgiven, and we have received several COVID-related grants and realized some savings both from the few months of remote learning as well as from temporarily changing our Summer Intensive from a residential program to a day program in response to the pandemic. Looking forward, however, we are projecting operating cash shortfalls over the next several years as the Early Learning Center budget ramps up to nearly $2M, against which we have what we hope are adequate reserves. Since our endowment draw represents only a small percentage of our annual operating expenses, we rely on annual donations from generous individuals, foundations, and corporations.

How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:

In March 2020, we made difficult decision to close our in-person programs. We did, however, have time to prepare. So, our Middle School students were provided with Chromebooks, supplies and materials, and support for access to Wi-Fi as needed. In the Early Learning Center, families received books, materials, and activities, and teachers FaceTimed with families daily. Meanwhile, our Graduate Support Team helped graduates navigate virtual college tours, provided workshops online, and hosted Zoom “office hours” to help with homework. Then, at the beginning of July 2020, we reopened our Early Learning Center, and that program has remained open ever since. In the Middle School, we welcomed students back for in-person learning at the end of August 2020, however, we transitioned to a hybrid model in October 2020 when positive COVID tests shot above 15% in our area. Thankfully, by March 2021, we were able to bring all students back in-person for the remainder of the school year.

How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:

Due to COVID-19, we have made extensive modifications. In the Middle School this includes a shortened school day from 11 hours to 9 hours, socially distanced classrooms, and meals prepared on-site but packaged to be eaten in the gym for lunch and taken home for dinner. In the Early Learning Center, families and visitors have restricted access to the building to ensure the safety of children and staff. We have also installed contactless faucets and toilets, upgraded our HVAC with UV & Merv-11 filters for better air quality, added many air purifiers, and plenty of PPE. In addition, all staff and middle school students are tested for COVID-19 weekly, and we require vaccinations for staff, visitors, and volunteers. We also expanded our food distribution program, offering thousands of pounds of food on-site weekly with the help of our partners, and have provided emergency financial awards to families as needed for rent and utilities.

Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

One silver lining to this pandemic is that we are closer to our families than ever before. We have been checking in more frequently, ensuring they have their needs addressed throughout this difficult time, and we will continue to maintain these connections. In addition, we are using technology in the classroom more frequently and we will continue to do so once the pandemic is over. For example, teachers are utilizing different types of software which have improved collaboration and reduced the usage of paper. As mentioned, we have also expanded our weekly food distributions to provide thousands of pounds of food weekly and plan to continue those for the foreseeable future. In 2020, from one partner alone, we distributed 63,798lbs of food. (N.B. One way we measure the social emotional health of our students is the Holistic Student Assessment, and, despite the challenges, our students reported increased strengths in School Bonding (+13.8%), Emotional Control (+2.7%), and Empathy (+5.4%).

Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
11/1/20212020 92.25
6/1/20202019 89.81
7/1/20192018 85.58
7/1/20182017 83.21
8/1/20172016 92.71
11/1/20162015 91.52
6/1/20162014 96.50
Rating Version: 2.0
9/1/20152014 96.02
10/1/20142013 94.83
8/1/20132012 96.89
7/1/20132012 92.11

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to its Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

7/1/20122011 89.86
9/20/20112010 82.82
Rating Version: 1.0
6/1/20112010 80.88
6/1/20102009 83.19
6/1/20092008 84.42
10/1/20082007 82.99

Previous: Finance & Accountability  / Next: Leadership & Adaptability

...   Impact & Results

This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.

Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

Epiphany School cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.

Back to Overall

Additional Information


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Largest Programs

Largest Programs

Epiphany School reported its largest program on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


Spent in most recent FY


Percent of program expenses


Previous: Impact & Results  / Next: Culture & Community

...   Leadership & Adaptability

This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.

Leadership & Adaptability Score


out of 100

The score earned by Epiphany School is a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.

Back to Overall

Leadership & Adaptability Report


of 100 points


The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s mission

"Epiphany is an independent school for children of economically disadvantaged families in Boston, with scholarships for all. We admit children of diverse faiths, races, cultures, and cognitive profiles…Our Early Learning Center serves infants, toddlers and preschoolers through a rich, child-centered curriculum and whole-family program model to ensure kindergarten readiness and family self-sufficiency. Our Middle School offers small classes, individualized curricula, and extended hours providing rigorous academic, moral and social instruction to children in grades five through eight. Our Graduate Support Program provides abiding educational, personal and career guidance and assistance to our graduates, ensuring they are prepared to contribute intelligently, morally, and actively to the society they will inherit. Our Teacher Training Program supports aspiring urban teachers, including many of our own graduates…Together we are a school that never gives up on a child."

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses


The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.

Our vision is to close the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers and eliminate intergenerational poverty while training the next generation of urban educators and demonstrating a high-performing school that does not rely on selective admissions or high attrition rates.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Strategic Goals

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.

Goal One: Ensure Epiphany’s financial sustainability by meeting annual fundraising goals and growing the endowment

Goal Type: Invest in the capacity of our organization (financial, management, technical, etc.).

Goal Two: Hire, develop, and retain the best teachers

Goal Type: Focus on core programs to achieve mission and scale back on programs not seen as core.

Goal Three: Grow the Early Learning Center, which opened in 2018, to full capacity serving 60-70 children

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development

Describe an investment in leadership

In the past 12-18 months, in addition to regular professional development opportunities, we supported seven teachers in our Early Learning Center to take Director 1 and 2 Administrator courses offered by Bunker Hill Community College and the Boston Chapter of MAAEYC (Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children). Meanwhile, in the Middle School, our Co-Director Curriculum & Instruction is continuing to evolve as a leader by becoming a Boston College supervisor for our student teachers. Further, we have invested in strengthening our key leadership team through participation in Pinnacle Leadership & Team Development where our leadership team meets regularly, including two full day retreats, to discuss organizational goals and issues, develop an action plan, and overall strengthen leadership skills. Also, 3 of our Teaching Fellows are currently receiving a free master’s degree through our partnership with Boston College.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Mobilizing for Mission

The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.

This organization mobilizes for mission in the following ways:
  • Strategic Partnerships

  • Networks of Collective Impact Efforts

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

  • Community Building

  • Policy Advocacy

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

Our external mobilization efforts include partnering with a host of community organizations, such as health centers and social service agencies, to provide our students with needed resources. Our Early Learning Center has partners embedded on-site including Room to Grow and Neighborhood Villages, and many organizations use our campus to host their programs. For example, we launched the Melville Civic Association here so our community can make its voice heard. Several churches also started here including Berachah, Christ the King, and New Roots. In terms of thought leadership, we host conferences for groups like the NativityMiguel Network of faith-based schools serving low-income families. In addition, Principal Michelle Sanchez helped develop the Donovan Urban Teaching Scholars Program at Boston College, and Head of School John Finley helped create a leadership training program at Berkley Divinity School at Yale. Also, we have helped build Epiphany-inspired schools around the country.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Story of Adaptability

The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.

In the face of many external challenges over the last year, our entire school community has displayed incredible resiliency. In the Middle School, our faculty and staff constantly adapted their plans to respond to the pandemic—e.g., planning for in-person, remote, and hybrid learning. Further, re-thinking the school day to accommodate COVID precautions took an incredible amount of flexibility and planning, and we are so proud of our staff’s ability to deliver an excellent curriculum for our students despite the challenges. In addition, we have worked closely with our many community partners, staff, volunteers, and donors to ensure our students and families have their needs addressed. Our students and families were already in vulnerable circumstances before the pandemic, and it has often exacerbated their challenges. Over the last year, many of our families have dealt with unemployment, housing insecurity, food insecurity, and stress from all this hardship. Thankfully, Epiphany has been there for them and checking in regularly with families to make sure they have access to any services and supports they may need. For example, as mentioned, we have been distributing thousands of pounds of food every week both to Epiphany families and to the general public, and we have been able to award financial grants to help with rent and utilities. Through this process, we have become closer to our students and families than ever before. Our school community is stronger than ever.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Additional Information


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Organization Leadership

Organization Leadership

The Rev. John H. Finley IV

Head of School

Jennifer B. Fulton


Previous: Leadership & Adaptability

...   Culture & Community

This score provides an assessment of the organization's culture and connectedness to the community it serves. Learn more about how and why we rate Culture & Community.

Culture & Community Score


out of 100

Epiphany School has earned a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating. The organization provided data about how it listens to constituents (Constituent Feedback) and its Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) practices (see report below).

The Culture & Community Beacon is comprised of the following metrics:

  • Constituent Feedback: 100/100 (30% of beacon score)

  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: 88/100 (70% of beacon score)

Back to Overall

Culture & Community Report


of 100 points

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Constituent Feedback

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

88/100 points

70% of beacon score

This organization's score of 88 is a passing score. The organization reported that it is implementing 6 diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices. Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations implementing effective DEI policies and practices can enhance a nonprofit's decision-making, staff motivation, innovation, and effectiveness.

View this organization's DEI Strategies


We are utilizing data collected by Candid to document and assess the DEI practices implemented by the organization. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the Equity Strategies section of their Candid profiles to receive a rating.

Learn more about the methodology.

Constituent Feedback

100/100 points

30% of beacon score

This organization reported that it is collecting feedback from the constituents and/or communities it serves. Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective.

View this organization's Constituent Feedback Practices


We've partnered with Candid to survey organizations about their feedback practices. Nonprofit organizations can fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile to receive a rating.

Learn more about the methodology.

Analysis and Research

Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Below you can find more information about the metrics we currently evaluate in this beacon and their relevance to nonprofit performance.

Constituent Feedback

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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